II. Now precisely the opposite of all this is true in the supernatural order, since the gate of death, viewed from the supernatural side, is an entrance and not an ending, a beginning and not a close. This may be seen to be so even in a united human family in this world, the members of whom are living the supernatural life; for where such a family is living in the love of God, Death, when he comes, draws not only the survivors closer together, but even those whom he seems to have separated. He does not bring consternation and terror and disunion, but he awakens hope and tenderness, he smooths away old differences, he explains old misunderstandings.
Our Blessed Lord has already, over the grave of Lazarus, hinted that this shall be so, so soon as He has consecrated death by His own dying. He that believeth in Me shall never die. He, that is to say, who has died with Christ, whose centre henceforward is in the supernatural, simply no longer finds death to be what nature finds it. It no longer makes for division but for union; it no longer imperils or ends life and interest and possession, but releases them from risk and mortality.
Here, then, He deliberately and explicitly acts upon this truth. He once raised Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus and the Widow’s Son from the dead, for death’s sting could, at that time, be drawn in no other way; but now that He Himself is tasting death for every man, He performs an even more emphatically supernatural act and conquers death by submitting to it instead of by commanding it. Life had already united, so far as mortal life can unite, those two souls who loved Him and one another so well. These two, since they knew Him so perfectly, knew each the other too as perfectly as knowledge and sympathy can unite souls in this life. But now the whole is to be raised a stage higher. They had already been united on the living breast of Jesus; now, over His dead body, they were to be made yet more one.
It is marvellous that, after so long, our imaginations should still be so tormented and oppressed by the thought of death; that we should still be so without understanding that we think it morbid to be in love with death, for it is far more morbid to be in fear of it. It is not that our reason or our faith are at fault; it is only that that most active and untamable faculty of ours, which we call imagination, has not yet assimilated the truth, accepted by both our faith and our reason, that for those who are in the friendship of God death is simply not that at all which it is to others. It does not, as has been said, end our lives or our interests: on the contrary it liberates and fulfils them.
And all this it does because Jesus Christ has Himself plunged into the heart of Death and put out his fires. Henceforth we are one family in Him if we do His will—his brother and sister and mother; and Mary is our Mother, not by nature, which is accidental, but by supernature, which is essential. Mary is my Mother and John is my brother, since, if I have died with Christ, it is no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in me. In a word, it is the Communion of Saints which He inaugurates by this utterance and seals by His dying.